The 57-year-old opened his campaign in a morning speech from his alma mater, Charleston Southern University, in his hometown of North Charleston. Scott filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission making his presidential bid official last week.
In his announcement address, Scott hit on themes common to his recent public remarks as he explored making a run at the White House. He focused his attacks on Biden while casting America as a land of opportunity for those willing to take chances.
“Our nation, our values, and our people are strong. But our President is weak,” Scott said, according to his prepared remarks. “America is not a nation in decline. But under Joe Biden, we have become a nation in retreat. Retreating from our heritage and our history. Retreating from personal responsibility and hard work. Retreating from strength and security. Even retreating from religious liberty and the worship of God himself.”
“This is the freest and fairest land. Where you and I can go as high as our character, our grit, and our talent will take us,” he continued. “Our party and our nation are standing at a time for choosing. Victimhood or victory? Grievance or greatness? I choose freedom and hope and opportunity.”
Scott joins a growing field of GOP hopefuls currently led by former President Donald Trump. The field also includes talk radio host Larry Elder, former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Scott has lagged in polls up to this point, garnering around 2% support.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is running closest to Trump, with the rest of the field trailing far behind. DeSantis is expected to officially join the race this week.
Scott joins the contest with $22 million cash on hand, a strong start for launching a White House bid. He has already reserved $6 million in ads to run in New Hampshire and Iowa.
Scott began his career in national politics in 2010 with his election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Two years later, Haley, when she was governor of the state, appointed him to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy left by former Sen. Jim DeMint after he retired.